Title: Straight on Till Morning
Author: Lia
E-Mail Address: fairyland15@hotmail.com
Rating: PG
Classification: Josh/Donna, little Sam/Ainsley Charlie/Zoey and Toby/CJ
Spoilers: None
Summary: When something unexpected happens, and the fact that the person who means everything to you could be taken away just like that, the love and friendship will help through the dark night.
Disclaimers: Not mine. The West Wing and all the characters belong to Aaron Sorkin, John Wells Production and Warner Brother. No infringement is intended. The following is for entertaining purpose only.
Author´s Note: I thank Pat for wonderful and fast beta she did. And as always, feedback is wanted and appreciated. Enjoy the story!

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She walked by his side, laughing in delight and he turned to look at her. Her eyes shone brightly and she had never looked more beautiful to him. A long black evening gown hung on her perfectly and a long slit on the side revealed her thigh with every step.

They stopped. The President looked behind him, seeing all his staff, the people he loved like a family, behind him. The agent in the front nodded and they stepped outside.

He saw the President waving to the cheering people. He lifted his hand to cover his eyes from the flashing cameras. His other arm kept her close, not wanting to let go of her. He felt her relaxing a little as she felt his arm around her waist. He turned to smile at her.

"You´re doing fine." He whispered and she gave him a smile he expected.

They walked behind the President. And then above the cheers and shouts, he heard the sound he would remember the rest of his life, and the woman next to him stopped. He turned to look at her and saw her holding her stomach,
the blood running through her fingers. She lifted her eyes to meet his. More shots.

He never saw how the President was pushed safe. He never saw the Secret Service agents rushing to cover the senior staff. All he saw, was his wife falling on his arms. All he saw, was the pain and fear in her eyes. He dropped on his knees and gathered her in his arms, placing himself between her and the invisible threat.

"No," the whisper from his lips was barely audible. "God no."

"Stay down!" The agents shouts didn´t reach his ears. All he heard, was soft moaning from the lips of his wife. From the woman he loved more than the life itself.

He lifted his eyes to scan the area, trying to find help. No sound came from him. He saw the black limo speeding away. The President was on his way to the White House. He was safe.

"Help me!" He heard himself shouting, desperately pressing the wound, trying to stop the bleeding.

In a seconds, the agents were on their cover, giving her the first aid she needed. Their eyes never broke the contact.

"We have one down!" The agent shouted into his sleeve mic. "We need an ambulance! Now!"

It was only a minute or two after the first shot when they loaded her in the ambulance. He never released her hand.

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Leo McGarry, the Chief of Staff, walked through the ICU doors, followed by two Secret Service agents. He looked at the people sitting there, and the events several years back flashed in his mind.

Only that time, the target had been Charlie Young, and his only crime was loving the President´s daughter.

He saw him sitting alone in a corner, his head buried in his hands. The tie hung open around his neck and the jacket laid on the chair next to him.

He was walking to him only to be stopped. Toby Ziegler shook his head. "He wanted to be alone." He said quietly.

Leo nodded, turned his head to see the man, and made up his mind. He walked to him and sat down. "Are you okay?" He asked worriedly, not really knowing what else to say.

He lifted his head and the emptiness in his eyes made the older man´s heart ache.

"No, I am not fine." He finally replied.

Leo nodded, understanding the pain he was feeling. "Josh." He reached to touch his shoulder. "She´ll be fine."

Joshua Lyman, the Deputy Chief of Staff, looked at the other man. "I can´t lose her." And then he gave in to the tears of sorrow and fear. He cried.

All the horror, and all the fear that he had felt years back as he had leaned against the cold wall, the blood running through his fingers, came rushing in his mind. And even then, bleeding from the wounds, he had been thanking God that she was safe at home, safe from the bullets that were shot towards the man who loved Zoey Bartlet.

Ten minutes later, a blonde woman walked in the room, holding a sleeping little girl in her arms. Leo stood up from Josh´s side and walked to her, taking the child and bringing her to her father.

"Josh." He said softly.

He looked up and seeing his daughter, he stood up taking her and hugging the sleeping girl to him tightly.

Ainsley Hayes had received the call from Leo McGarry only a half an hour earlier and she had made sure that the daughter of Josh and Donna Lyman was escorted to the hospital by her, and the Secret Service.

"Ains," Sam Seaborn stood up and walked to her.

They stood close for a moment, before Ainsley wrapped her arms around him, holding him tight. "When I got the call... When I heard about the shooting... I thought... I didn´t know what to think..." her tearful whispers made him hold her tighter.

Joshua Lyman held his daughter tightly in his arms. The little girl started to squirm as she woke up. A smile of pure joy, because waking up in her father´s lap, brightened her face.

"Daddy." Her still tired, but happy voice made the people in the room lift their heads and look at the young girl who knew only a few words, and one of them was the word that described one of the most important people in her
life.

"Mommy? Where´s mommy?"

Josh looked at her. She looked just like her mother, with a long, curly blonde hair and blue eyes. She was so beautiful.

"Connie," Josh started.

"I want mommy." Constance Lyman, who had the same temperament that her father had, slid away from her father´s lap. "I want mommy."

"I know sweetie," Josh reached to her and brought her back in his lap. "But mommy is very sick now." How to explain a two years old that mommy may not... He closed his eyes. "I want mommy too."

Little Constance Abigail looked around the room. She saw many familiar faces, and even in the young age, she sensed something was wrong.

Her lips started to tremble and she looked up to her father. "I want my mommy." She whispered.

Those words broke Josh´s heart and for the first time, he had no idea how to respond to her. The desperate look in his eyes betrayed him and his daughter saw that. She slid down from his lap again and run away, only to bump against her godfather.

"Whoa darling." Sam lifted the girl in his arms and she wrapped her arms around his neck, sobbing in confusion. He looked quickly at Josh who had stood up to run after her. Sam nodded slightly and Josh sunk back on the chair.

Ainsley fallowed Sam and little Constance out of the room and they were escorted to the cafeteria by the Secret Service agent.

Toby stood up from the couch where he had sat with CJ, the White House Press Secretary, the woman who had walked behind Josh and Donna. Who had seen her taking the bullet. Who had been forced away from the scene by the frantic agents. And who had stayed strong, up until the time when the little voice had asked for her mommy. At that time, CJ Cregg had finally broken down, and Toby Ziegler had held her until the last tears had dried.

He walked over where Josh sat and seated next to him. Not saying a word, he gave his support for the man who waited news about his wife. Josh glanced at him gratefully. No words were needed at this point.

It was two hours later when the door opened and the man wearing a green scrub walked in. Josh stood up and glanced quickly at his daughter who now slept peacefully in CJ´s arms.

"Mr Lyman." The doctor started. "I have some news about your wife."

He hadn't heard everything the doctor had said. The words <We expect the full recovery> was the only sound in his mind. He fallowed the doctor toward the recovery room and stepped in the dark room.

He stopped by the door.

She lay in the bed, covered by lines and wires and monitors beeping firmly, telling her heart beat. He swallowed hard and then walked to her side, sitting down and reaching for her hand.

"Donna." He whispered softly. "Okay, sweetie. It´s time to wake up now."

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Three hours later, Josh slept quite peacefully in the chair next to his wife´s bed. Constance slept too, sitting in his lap, leaning against his chest.

Sam stood behind the window of the room and stared the family in there. Joshua Lyman was his best friend. His heart had broken when he had seen the desperate look and the fear in his eyes earlier that day. He knew that if
Josh had lost his Donna, he would have lost the biggest part of himself. He had never seen anyone so deeply in love.

Almost three years earlier, he had been asked to be the godfather of the new born baby girl. Constance Abigail Lyman, the little blond haired girl, who he loved like his own, looked up to her godfather, giving him the same
unconditional love she gave to her parents. When she had born, and Donna had placed her in his arms for the first time, his heart had burst with joy and proud. The feeling had been something he had never felt before.

After Constance´s birth, the life in the West Wing had changed. The people there wanted to be a part of the little girl´s life. No one wasn´t surprise to found the little toddler wandering around the hallways, fallowed by the First Daughter who had wanted to spent time with her.

No one was surprised to found a blanket spread on the Chief of Staff´s office, and the little girl playing there. And no one would have known how to explain to that girl if her mother, the woman they all loved like a family, had not survived from the bullets that had been fired toward the President´s party. The bullets that had been a shout of attention from the people who had no respect for the life. From the people who now laid dead because of the Secret Service sniper´s bullets.

He had stood next to Josh in the Rose Garden five months after Constance birth, when he had married the woman he loved more than he knew is was possible to love someone. He had danced with the bride in that beautiful garden, telling that he was happy for them.

Josh Lyman was like a brother to him. And when he was hurt, Sam was hurt too. And only hours earlier, he had felt the pain for him. He had been worried about the woman they both loved so much, but in different ways.

He felt Ainsley wrapping her arms around him from behind and she leaned against his back.

"Are you okay?" She asked softly.

He turned around, wrapping his own arms around her and hugging her close. "I feel better." He told her.

She believed him.

"She´ll be fine." She said against his chest. "They both will."

"I know." He leaned his cheek against the top of her head.

"The President sent the plane to get her family here. Leo asked if you could go and meet them at the airport."

He pulled away and rubbed his tired eyes. "Okay."

"Do you want me to come with you?" She took his hand and gave him a comforting squeeze.

He nodded his head. "Please."

"Okay." Ainsley nodded too.

-----------

It was the soft whispers that made her open her eyes, only to gasp because of the pain in her abdomen.

"Donna?" She would have recognized that voice from anywhere and she tried to smile.

"Josh?" She whispered hoarsely.

"Hey sweetheart," his gentle hand brushed her cheek and he leaned to kiss her lips softly. "How are you feeling?"

"What happened?"

"You were shot." His hand smoothed her face and hair tenderly.

Flashes of the events filled her mind. His arm around her, and then the sudden pain. The pain she had never felt before. And then she was lying on the ground. His worried face looking down at her, the shouts and the cries.

"Is the President..?" She whispered suddenly.

"The President is fine." He assured.

She nodded, and relaxed leaning heavily against the pillows.

"Are you in pain?"

Again she nodded. "Where´s Connie?"

"She´s with Sam and Ains." He reached to press the call button.

Only a few minutes later the doctor walked in fallowed by two nurses and soon he found himself standing in the hallway, staring at the closing door.

"Josh?" Leo´s voice made him turn around.

"She woke up." He said, the relief flushing through his tired body. "She´ll be fine now."

"Of course she will." Leo nodded, and then suddenly reached to hug the man he loved like a son. "I was so worried." He confessed, tightening his embrace.

When they pulled apart, Josh rubbed his tired eyes, trying to stop the unshed tears falling. "Thank you." He whispered and then straightened to look at the older man´s eyes. "Thank you for everything."

Leo nodded, knowing that even he wanted to say so much, nothing would have fit at that moment.

"Where´s Connie?" Josh looked around, expecting to see his daughter close somewhere.

"Abbey took her back to the residence." Leo explained. "She and CJ thought that spending a night in the hospital... well, they thought she would need some rest and this wasn´t the place."

Josh nodded.

"Charlie and Toby are still here." Leo continued, nodding toward the private waiting area.

"They are?" Josh lifted his head and turned to look the closed door.

"Yeah, and like I said, CJ went with Connie and Abbey. Sam and Ainsley went to get Donna´s parents. They will be here in an hour."

Josh nodded again and then took a few steps toward the waiting room. "Leo," he stopped and turned to face the older man.

"Yeah?"

"The President´s fine, right?"

"He´s fine." Leo nodded confirming his words. "He wanted to come, but Ron was uncompromising."

"I´m glad."

"He´ll spent the rest of the night trying to get your daughter to sleep, Josh." He said. "She´s in a good hands."

"I know." Josh said and then pushed the door open in the waiting room.

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"Where´s Josh?" Donna asked tiredly and looked at the people in her room.

She was sitting up and leaning against the pillows behind her back. It had been almost twelve hours since she had woken up and Josh had been sitting by her side since that. Only a couple of minutes ago, he had excused himself and left the room.

"Mom, stop that." She sighed again as her mother hovered around her. "I´m fine."

"I´m sorry." Her mother stopped what she was doing and took her hand. "It´s just that... we were really worried Donnatella."

"I´m fine," Donna assured smiling, ignoring the light ache on her stomach from time to time. The pain medication helped and she wanted to stay up.

"Knock knock," the door was pushed open and Sam stepped in with a big bunch of flowers.

"Hey," Donna smiled and then bent her head on her right to see Ainsley who fallowed Sam in.

"Hey darlin´" Sam gave a kiss on her cheek and placed the flowers on the table. "How are you doing?"

"Better." She smiled at him.

The door opened again "Are you awake?" CJ smiled from the door where she stood with Toby.

"Sure, come on in." Donna gestured and then laughed lightly at the balloons Toby brought in. "Hey you didn´t bring me balloons after I spent 11 hours in labour."

"We brought you balloons now." Toby smiled and leaned to kiss her lightly. "Are you okay?" He whispered worriedly.

"I´m fine," she assured quietly.

Her parents stood farther in the big private room. When their youngest child had first told them that she was working at the White House, they had been surprised. More surprised they had been when she had come home for
Christmas, bringing the White House Deputy Chief of Staff with her. But the surprise had changed to joy when they had sat on the couch, hand in hand, and announced that they were expecting a baby.

They had stood in the White House Rose Garden eighteen months later, watching as their daughter became a part of the Lyman family as well. They had met the First Family, and had been surprised to see the leader of the free world dancing with their baby daughter, who had grown to be a beautiful and intelligent woman. And they had stared in surprised as the President and the First Lady had cooed with their grandchild.

And now, seeing the hospital room full of people who worked with the man who had been the target of the shooters, and because of that man, their daughter
laid in the hospital, recovering from the gunshot wounds, they felt nothing but love and gratefulness toward that man and those people. Their daughter had been shot, but she was also loved and cared by all of them.

"Mrs Moss." Sam touched her arm gently. "Are you all right?" He asked quietly.

"I´m fine." The older woman responded and covered Sam´s hand with her own.

"Mommy!" A clear and delighted voice yelled from the door and Donna´s head snapped up.

There stood her daughter, her father keeping the door open. "Connie," she opened her arms to her and the little girl ran in, climbing in the bed with Toby´s help.

She placed kisses on her mother´s face and Donna hugged her close. "I missed you."

"I missed you too." Connie answered with a voice of the sincere child.

Josh sat on the edge of the bed and looked at his wife and daughter. He leaned to kiss her lips and then kissed Connie´s hair gently. "I went to get her, but she was already here." He pulled back and gestured toward the still open door where Josiah Bartlet stood with his arm around his wife, and his youngest daughter holding Charlie´s hand.

"How´re you feeling?" Jed asked as they stepped in and the staff got on their feet. He motioned them to sit. "Sit down, all of you. We´ve been through this same drill every single day." He chuckled.

"I´m fine, sir." Donna answered. "Thank you for looking after Connie."

"She´s our little angel." Jed replied and kissed Donna´s forehead before turning his attention to her parents. "Mr and Mrs Moss."

"Mr President..."

From the door, Leo McGarry observed the people in the room. Sam and Toby arguing playfully on the foot of the bed, Toby´s arm around CJ and Sam reaching for Ainsley´s hand, pulling her by his side. Zoey Bartlet, sitting next to Charlie on the corner of the room, watching as he hopped giggling Connie on his lap, the love she felt for him shining in her eyes. The First Couple talking quietly with Donna´s parents, the easiness between the two parents. And then where was Donna and Josh, now lying on the bed together. He had wrapped his arms around her protectively and whispered softly in her ear, placing kisses on her forehead from time to time.

This is how it was, and how it should be. The love and respect for the people you call friend. And in their case, it was even more.

THE END

 

 

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